It’s been a bit over a month since the ninth episode in Star Wars’ Skywalker saga was revealed to be The Rise of Skywalker at this year’s Star Wars Celebration. Fans saw the trailer, freaked out, then promptly watched the trailer again. Theories abound. Now fans have more ideas to speculate upon and more incredible teases to process while Star Wars (as fans know it) marches towards its end.
This comes thanks to legendary photographer (and longtime Star Wars set correspondent) Annie Leibovitz, who shot tons of pictures for Vanity Fair’s revealing cover story — including many of new characters and old characters that seem to have no business being so spry.
Take a look at the covers below:
Aside from the cool covers — which may feed into rumors about who that “Skywalker” is in the title — the photos themselves tease quite a bit of the story. The previously-mentioned conflict between Kylo Ren and Rey is played out in a rainy battle, with light and dark obscured by the stormy combat.
There are also fans’ first looks at the new characters played by series newcomers Keri Russell and Richard E. Grant, both of which are decked out in their coolest costumes. Russell plays Zorri Bliss, a mysterious scoundrel whose mask looks somewhere between Boba Fett’s Mandalorian-esque bounty hunter and the sweet visor of Enfys Nest, who resides somewhere “in the Thieves’ Quarter of the snow-dusted world Kijimi.” Grant plays Allegiant General Pryde, a First Order bigwig that hangs with General Hux aboard a destroyer.
Fans can also get their first look at Jannah, the character played by Naomi Ackie, who is seen riding into mounted combat against “the mechanized forces of the First Order” alongside Finn. And yes, she has a sweet bow and multiple futuristic arrows.
While not necessarily new, the Knights of Ren have only been glimpsed in rainy visions of the past. Now fans can see Kylo Ren’s corrupted version of the Praetorian Guards in their full glory. Big swords, a staff, and what looks to be a flamethrower. Awesome. They’re hanging out in the desert that fans saw in the trailer, where many a fight and chase scene take place. This planet was revealed to be Pasaana, inhabited by the alien Aki-Aki. Aside from new characters, fans also got to glimpse new team-ups with old favorites, like this picture of Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, BB-8, Poe Dameron, and D-0 aboard the Millennium Falcon.
Finally, there were the characters that fans weren’t sure they’d ever see again. Mark Hamill returned as Luke Skywalker, appearing alongside his best buddy R2-D2 while the world burned in the background. Wasn’t he dead? Is this another projection? It's just a promotional image...but surely it implies something, right?
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will address all these questions when it closes out the saga on Dec. 20